If you have been following my driving journey with Zorro over on my personal blog (which can be found at www.theessentialhorse.com) you’ll be familiar with the issues we were having with the bit. Zorro was not comfortable when I would lift my lines and apply some contact to his mouth. He would either CHOMP the bit or would bring his nose closer to his chest and gape his mouth. No matter how slight the pressure was on the bit, these were his reactions.
I took him to a Natural Horsemanship instructor that I have been going to for 17 years and he explained that Zorro didn’t seem to understand that when I lifted my lines I was talking to his FEET not his mouth. So he was doing all kinds of things with his mouth trying to find the answer, but would rarely change what his feet were doing. If I added in the verbal “walk” or “whoa” command he would immediately do it, but the bit meant very little to him.
As he started to connect the dots, when I broke things down into smaller pieces, he became very sensitive. My instructor pointed out that if I was using leather lines, my hands better be 100% perfect because the connection was immediate and can be abrupt. With an extremely sensitive pony like Zorro I needed to be sure I was always spot on with my line handling, connection and release, or I would risk confusing him even further. We discussed using rope lines instead. I had a couple of 10′ long lead ropes I could try, but they had snaps on the ends, so I had the rope guys make me a set of 11′ long yacht rope lines with a loop on the bit end. Then I used our Buckle Adapter to connect the lines to the bit.
These lines have been so wonderful! They allow me to keep working on my hands and making my connection softer and less abrupt. Because they are yacht rope, they are very comfortable in my hands and when we are up in the mountains driving I don’t worry about them getting dirty, dragging through the dirt/mud/water, or being stepped on.
So the answer to the question “Why would I use yacht rope driving lines?” is to help my sensitive pony understand the bit better while also working on my hands and not sacrificing my pony’s mouth. If this is something that interests you, the Yacht Rope Driving Lines are on sale this month! (August 2020) We only sell these in the mini/small pony size at this time but if there is interest for them in the bigger horse size I will get some made in that size as well!
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